JOINED: Alex J. “AJ” Abrams has joined Tri-State Financial Services, 255 N. Third St., Steubenville.

After six years in the financial services industry with another firm, Abrams recently joined Tri-State Financial President Ken Perkins and licensed representative Suzanne Kresser. He is a fully licensed adviser, offering his clients the ability to buy and sell stock, bonds, mutual funds, unit investment trusts variable annuities and all other forms of financial products.

He chose to affiliate with Tri-State Financial Services due to the company’s high level of involvement in local charities and community events, as well as the fact that he can continue to serve the needs of his clients from his former firm in addition to assisting the clients of Tri-State Financial Services, a firm with more than 28 years of experience and more than $70 million in assets under management.

Call (740) 264-4466 for information or an appointment.

NEW OWNERS: Specialty retailer rue21 has a new owner.

Rue21, a leading specialty retailer for girls and guys apparel and accessories, has been acquired by Apax Partners, a global private equity firm.

“We are pleased that our stockholders recognize the significant merits of this transaction,” said Bob Fisch, president, CEO and chairman of rue21. “We look forward to completing the transaction quickly and to working with the Apax team toward achieving our long-term objectives as a leading growth specialty retailer.”

The transaction is expected to close in early October 2013, at which time rue21 will cease to be traded on NASDAQ.

Rue21’s distribution center and e-commerce operations are located in Weirton’s Three Springs Drive business park.

START-UP: A 20-year-old Ohio University student has quit school to start his own company.

Ian Hoyt is teaming with Leonard Mack in a Columbus-based startup, Octo-Pod, which is based around a charging device that can charge hundreds of different devices, including iPhones, Androids, Blackberries, mobile gaming systems, e-readers and more. Their goal is to have Octo-Pods in hotel rooms, coffee houses, restaurants, waiting rooms and college campuses to provide users an easy alternative to charging their devices on the go.

In conjunction with Octo-Pod, Hoyt and Mack also launched LosersSayNo.com, which they hope to make it an epicenter for entrepreneurship and motivation on the Internet.

The duo are documenting every integral step in building their startup to show the mistakes and successes they’ve had along the way, in hopes that others will learn from it.

Quick takes

CHANGES: Eastern Gateway Community College has announced four changes in its academic ranks:

Christine Elliot is the program administrator of the LPN to RN ACCESS Program at the Valley Center, Youngstown; Judy Miller moved from director of career services and alumni to instructor of business technologies in the administrative assistant program on the Jefferson County campus; Jennie Scott became a health technologies instructor in the nursing program at the Valley Center; and John “Jack” Thayer became an instructor for the welding program and a workforce instructor.

Elliot of Andover holds a master’s degree in nursing as a women’s health nurse practitioner and a bachelor’s degree in nursing, both from Kent State University.

Prior to joining Eastern Gateway, she was director of educational services for Valley Care Health System in Warren. She also is an RN NCLEX live review instructor for Pearson. Previously, she was an instructor and coordinator for the LPN to RN ACCESS program at Lorain County Community College.

Elliot is a member of Sigma Theta Tau-Delta XI Chapter and Ohio League of Nursing.

Miller of Toronto earned two associate of applied business degrees in business management and executive secretarial from Eastern Gateway, a bachelor’s degree in business management from Wheeling Jesuit University and a master’s degree in strategic leadership from Mountain State University.

She began her career at the college in 1975 as a part-time secretary and then secretary to the director of counseling and career planning services. In 2000, Miller was appointed director of career services and alumni. She also has been an adjunct instructor since 1992.

Scott of Richmond holds a bachelor’s degree in nursing from Ohio State University and a master’s degree in nursing from the University of Phoenix.

She taught part time at the college before her advancement. She also works as a registered nurse at Weirton Medical Center.

Thayer of Ellwood City, Pa., graduated from Lincoln Electric Comprehensive Welding School and attended Beaver and Butler Community Colleges. He did a four-year apprenticeship with Plumbers and Steamfitters L.U. 47. He has 40 years of experience in welding, fabricating and industrial production and construction.

He belongs to the American Welding Society as a certified welding inspector and a certified welding educator.

LEADERSHIP: West Virginia University’s Extension Service is offering its Community Leadership Academy Oct. 3-4 at the Waterfront Hotel in Morgantown.

The keynote speaker is Ed Morrison, MBA, JD and regional economic development adviser for Purdue University.

It’s an opportunity to learn about innovative projects that can be put to work in a community, develop leadership skills in local government administration, collaboration and strategy and discover avenues for collaborating.

For information, go to www.cla-wv.org.

Mountaineer names quarterly honoree

NEWELL – Patti Toomey was recognized as Mountaineer Casino, Racetrack and Resort’s Team Member of the Quarter.

Toomey has been employed at Mountaineer since December 2002. As purchasing agent, she is involved in almost every item, product, service and capital improvement at Mountaineer. She supports the operational departments by providing quality products, delivered on time and saving the company thousands of dollars, officials said.

Team members are nominated by their specific department and the winner is selected by the resort’s executives.

Others who were nominated include Tom Chambers (doorman), Charles Copestick (security), Tom Dama (casino dealer), Tina Davis (gaming housekeeping), Kevin DeCesare (slot tech), Paul Duffy (bartender), Debbie Gamble (mutual teller), Tim Garcia (gaming housekeeping), Charles Higgens (hotel housekeeping), Chris Kernen (steward), Robert Reed (placing judge), Kenny Reynolds (maintenance) and Rhonda Rohraugh (poker dealer).

ESC tops in homeschooling

STEUBENVILLE – Jefferson County Educational Service Center’s Virtual Learning Academy was awarded the Top Homeschooling Curriculum Award for 2013 by Homeschool.com.

The honor was awarded after a team review from Homeschool.com and vote by home school families, using online curriculum.

In existence since 2001, JCESC VLA offers more than 100 courses that are aligned with the Ohio Academic Content Standards and is one of only eight ESCs in the nation to receive national accreditation by North Central Association on Accreditation and School Improvement, an accreditation division of AdvancED.

The academy provides a portfolio of web-based curriculum spanning grades kindergarten through 12th, offered through a user-friendly Learning Management System that can be navigated by students of all ages and abilities.

For information and full course listing from the JCESC Virtual Learning Academy, visit the website at: www.jcesc.k12.oh.us, e-mail vlainfo@omeresa.net or call (740) 283-3347.


Quick takes

GET OUT THE VOTE: Locally owned Dolce Pizzelles needs your votes to score “American Made” honors in the food category.

The competition, sponsored by Martha Stewart, celebrates the American entrepreneurial spirit. Voting ends Sept. 22, and the following day category winners – those who get the most votes – will be announced. The grand prize winner will be announced Oct. 1 and will receive a $10,000 cash prize, a trip for two to New York City to attend the American Made Workshop and will be featured on marthastewart.com.

American Made spotlights the maker, supports the local and celebrates the handmade. The journey culminates in the workshop, to be held from 9 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. on Oct. 16 at the Andaz, Fifth Avenue, New York City.

Sisters Linda Freed & Debra Latynski of Hammondsville, who founded Dolce Pizzelles, say that every time you vote, “you’re entered into a sweepstakes drawing for prizes from Martha Stewart and sponsors.”

To vote, go to www.marthastewart.com/americanmade/nominee/79512.

You may vote up to six times a day.

COMMENT: Local planners are seeking public input on the draft Jefferson County land use plan.

A meeting has been set for 1:30 p.m. Sept. 26 in the second floor community room at the Towers building, 500 Market Street, Steubenville.

The land use plan will be a guide for future development in Jefferson County, helping local leaders provide facilities and services as cost-effectively as possible and to recommend, but not mandate, actions that can lead to orderly development and preserve the quality of life for county residents.

The draft plan is the product of three prior public meetings, interviews and a countywide survey.

Copies can be viewed at the Jefferson County Regional Planning Commission web site, at the Jefferson County Regional Planning Commission office and at the Public Library of Steubenville and Jefferson County Schiappa branch on Mall Drive.

Public comments on the draft will be accepted through Oct. 16. Comments or questions should be directed to Rich Fender, Jefferson County Planner, at rfenderrpc@jeffersoncountyoh.com or by calling (740) 283-8568.

CONFERENCE: More than 100 transportation officials from throughout the state will be participating in the 2013 West Virginia Statewide Transportation Planning Conference Tuesday through Thursday, to be hosted by Brooke-Hancock-Jefferson Metropolitan Planning Commission.

Based at the Holiday Inn-Weirton, it will focus on topics including the proposed Ohio River bridge, Rideshare programs and mapping initiatives.

The conference, now in its eighth year, will include kick-off comments from Transportation Secretary Paul Mattox, as well as an update by the Blue Ribbon Committee on Highways, site visits and an evening bike tour.

Among the scheduled speakers:

Matthew Hardy, director for Policy and Planning, American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials.

Joe Deneault, chair of the West Virginia Blue Ribbon Committee on Highways.

Cindy Butler, director of the West Virginia State Rail Authority.

In addition to the conference activities, the BHJ has organized a bike ride on the Panhandle Trail and a tour of the Market Street Bridge. Visitors also will be able to take a tour of the Weirton Area Museum and Cultural Center. They’ve also planned a cookout at Williams Country Club, featuring meats slow-smoked by the Williams staff over cherry wood harvested from the golf course.

Bil Lepp, five-time champion of the West Virginia Liar’s Contest, will entertain guests at the event with tall tales. The evening of dining and entertainment was organized in partnership with the Top of West Virginia Convention & Visitor’s Bureau.

For information, contact Mike Paprocki, BHJ Transportation study director, at (740) 282-3668, extension 209.

Jack honored by water association

WELLSBURG – Ernie Jack of Wellsburg has received the National Rural Water Association’s Utility Management Certification for demonstrating extensive knowledge of water and wastewater management.

He’s among five water specialists who oversee operation of the Moundsville water plant, which treats 5 million gallons per day, is the only ozone treatment plant in West Virginia and softens 100 percent of its finished water for residents of Moundsville and a large part of Marshall County, according to Moundsville officials.

Jack noted the plant also produces a large amount of water for the natural gas and oil industry.

Jack is one of only eight water and wastewater operators to receive the certification.

He was presented the certification by Jack McIntosh, a circuit rider with the West Virginia Rural Water Association and former Follansbee water superintendent, at a Moundsville water board meeting.

New music leaders at Franciscan

STEUBENVILLE – The Sacred Music Program at Franciscan University of Steubenville began the fall semester under the leadership of two new music professors.

Jessica Bachicha Ewell joins the Franciscan faculty to teach voice, music theory and survey of sacred and religious music, among other courses.

She holds a doctorate of musical arts from the Catholic University of America and a master of music from New England Conservatory of Music. She has taught voice in the United States, Italy and the United Kingdom and has given lectures on music history and philosophy.

Ewell was featured in the Chronicle of Higher Education’s article, “The Grand Vision of a Blind Soprano,” which described how Ewell developed her deep love of music despite her blindness.

Nicholas Will is an organist and conductor holding a master of music degree from the Peabody Conservatory of Music. In addition to teaching organ lessons and directing the Schola Cantorum Franciscana and Franciscan University Chorale, he teaches courses in music theory, music history, ear training and Gregorian chant. He has performed throughout the Eastern United States, Belgium, Holland and France as an organist, conductor and accompanist.

Franciscan University’s Sacred Music Program prepares students for careers as classically trained professional musicians, either in voice or organ. Along with traditional courses of private study, theory and history, students focus on the Catholic church’s rich musical tradition, including Gregorian chant, sacred polyphony and the works of all ages.

For information, visit www.franciscan.edu/sacredmusic/ or call the admissions office at (800) 783-6220.

Ohio board approves EGCC?nursing

STEUBENVILLE – The Ohio Board of Nursing granted full approval to Eastern Gateway Community College’s Practical Nursing Program through 2018.

The Practical Nursing Program received an onsite visit by an OBN representative during the 2013 spring semester. The survey visit revealed that all requirements are being met and maintained by the program. No citations were issued and a full five-year approval was granted in accordance with the Ohio Revised Code, according to Judith Church, OBN president.

Licensed practical nurses care for the sick, injured, convalescent and disabled under the direction of physicians and registered nurses. Most LPNs provide basic nursing care at the bedside. They assess patient needs and monitor vital signs, provide wound care, including dressings and treatments, perform procedures such as inserting catheters, suctioning, respiratory treatments and medication administration, monitor IVs and collect specimens for testing. They assist patients to meet their physical and emotional needs.

Eastern Gateway’s PN program director is professor Diane Roney, with two other full-time faculty members, professor Judith Hince and associate professor Dana Meadows.

Applications for the class that starts in May are being accepted. Interested students should contact the college’s admissions office at (740) 264-5591, extension 212. Information can be found on the college’s online catalog at www.egcc.edu, search word catalog.

Five Bethany profs installed

BETHANY – Five members of the Bethany College faculty were installed into endowed positions during a formal ceremony at the school.

Bethany President Scott D. Miller said the ceremony “honors and recognizes significant, distinctive contributors to their fields.”

The college has 13 endowed positions. Joining that list this year are:

Lisa Reilly, associate professor of chemistry and chair of the department of physical science and mathematics, who has been named the Goulding-Woolery Professor of Chemistry. Reilly, who was the 2012 recipient of the President’s Award for Faculty Excellence, has served on several committees and has been an adviser for multiple student organizations.

Anju Ramjee, professor of finance, who has been named the John F. and Evelyn Casey Steen Professor of Finance. In 2013, she received the President’s Award for Excellence in Performance for Faculty, was a nominee for the West Virginia Merit Foundation Faculty of the Year and a nominee for CASE Professor of the Year nationally.

Joseph Walsh, assistant professor of mathematics, who has been named the Matthew Quay Ammon Professor of Mathematics. Walsh, who joined Bethany in 2012, is a frequent participant and contributor at national and regional mathematics conferences and has received awards and recognitions in mathematics and physics.

David R. Black, who is the Sarah B. Cochran Visiting Executive in Residence and is also serving as interim provost. Black retired at the end of the 2012-13 academic year as president of Eastern University and Palmer Theological Seminary in Pennsylvania. He was president of Lakeland College in Wisconsin.

Travis Straub, who is the R. Richard Renner Visiting Scholar in English. Straub is a published author, and he served as fiction reader for the University of Pittsburgh’s literary magazine Hot Metal Bridge. He also served as co-host of the Graduate Reading Series there.

Quick takes

JOINS: Dr. Erin Miller has joined the family medical care facility operated by C.H.A.N.G.E. Inc. at 3136 West St. as a full-time dentist.

A 2013 graduate of the West Virginia University School of Dentistry, Miller completed her six-week internship in Gassaway, W.Va. A native of Frederick, Md., Miller said she has been interested in dentistry since she was 7 years old.

Established to help area residents with no or little insurance coverage, family medical care is open to people of all income and coverage levels, with patients charged based on a sliding scale. All insurance plans are accepted, and discounts are available to the uninsured.

Miller will be available from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday. Appointments should be made by calling (304) 748-2828.

CLASS: Eastern Gateway Community College will offer an NRA concealed carry course Sept. 19 and 21 at the Pugliese Center, 110 John Scott Highway, Steubenville.

Orientation will be from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Wednesday at the center. The training will be held from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. Sept. 19 at the center and from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sept. 21 at the Wintersville firing range.

The course consists of 10 hours of instruction and two hours of practical training, including range time and live-fire experience.

This training also is honored in West Virginia, Pennsylvania and other states.

The student must complete a written examination that tests his or her competency and a physical demonstration of competency on handgun usage and rules for safe handling and storage of a handgun.

Students must be 21 or older, and payment must be received prior to the course start date.

The course is $75. Senior citizens pay $50. Registration deadline is Wednesday. For information or to register, call (740) 264-5591, ext. 310.

WINNERS: CONSOL Energy’s Buchanan Mine Rescue team, near Oakwood, Va., took home first place honors in the Southern West Virginia Mine Rescue Contest, held recently in Beckley.

CONSOL Energy teams and their members earned 12 of the 24 trophies awarded at the two-day competition.

The Buchanan Black team earned first place overall in the Beckley competition while CONSOL Energy’s McElroy Red team earned second place overall.

CONSOL Energy teams earned a sweep of the top three team spots on day two of the daily competition. Buchanan Black earned first place on the first day and third place on the second day; McElroy Red won first place on the second day; and Enlow Fork’s Green team earned second place on the second day.

SHUT?DOWN: Constellation Energy Nuclear Group says it has shut down one of two nuclear reactors at its Calvert Cliffs power plant after a malfunction during testing.

Plant spokesman Kory Raftery says a control rod dropped into the reactor Thursday during tests at the Southern Maryland plant and it was shut down.

He said Friday that electrical maintenance will be performed, but it’s not clear when unit 2 will return to service.

Nuclear Regulatory Commission spokesman Neil Sheehan says the plant must shut down within six hours if a rod can’t be withdrawn. He says inspectors will follow the maintenance.

Raftery says there’s no public safety threat, and an investigation found no link to a shutdown in May.

The plant is located along the Chesapeake Bay, about 70 miles south of Baltimore.

Quick takes

KUDOS: The Dollar General Literacy Foundation recently awarded grants to support youth literacy programs to Jefferson County Joint Vocational School in Bloomingdale in the amount of $2,000.

“Youth literacy grants from the Dollar General Literacy Foundation are awarded at the beginning of the academic year to help make a distinct impact on the communities we serve by supporting programs that improve education and enhance literacy,” said Rick Dreiling, Dollar General’s chairman and CEO. “At Dollar General, we are passionate about our mission of Serving Others and it’s exciting to see the real difference literacy and learning makes in people’s lives.”

This fall, the Dollar General Literacy Foundation awarded more than $2.5 million in youth literacy grants to approximately 650 schools, non-profit organizations, libraries and community groups across the country dedicated to the advancement of literacy.

Celebrating its 20th anniversary in 2013, the Dollar General Literacy Foundation supports initiatives that help others improve their lives through literacy and education, according to officials. Since its inception in 1993, the Dollar General Literacy Foundation has awarded more than $84.9 million in grants to nonprofit organizations, helping more than 4.8 million individuals take their first steps toward literacy or continued education.

APPOINTED: Guhan Venkatu has been named vice president and senior regional officer for the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland’s Pittsburgh Branch, effective Saturday.

Venkatu brings 15 years of Reserve Bank experience to the office and will be responsible for maintaining a strong presence for the Bank throughout its Pittsburgh region, which includes Erie, Pa., Wheeling and Steubenville.

He will be the senior official of the Pittsburgh branch and manage relationships with key stakeholders in the area and will also serve as the Branch’s regional economist.

He succeeds Robert Schaub, who retired earlier this year after 38 years of service at the bank.

EDUCATORS: Eastern Gateway Community College has appointed two new deans.

Dorothy Collins of Boardman advanced to dean of TRiO programs and academic advising, while Christina Wanat of New Philadelphia is now dean of student learning.

In 2005, Collins became director of the TRiO student support services program and has since become director of two additional TRiO programs, Educational Opportunity Center and Upward Bound. TRiO programs are federally funded grant programs designed to identify and provide services for individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds. She also supervises academic advising at the college. She has been working in academic support for eight years, helping students achieve their post-secondary and/or higher educational goals.

Collins holds a doctorate degree in education from Capella University and master’s and bachelor’s degrees in education from Youngstown State University. Previously, she was a career consultant for Mahoning and Columbiana Training Association and an assistant women’s basketball coach and a coordinator of multi-cultural student services for the Center of Student Progress at YSU.

In 1999, Wanat was appointed assistant director of the Tech Prep program at the college, then became director of Tech Prep and, later, director of the Student Success Center and the Adult Basic Literacy Education program. Prior to being promoted to dean, Wanat held the title of chief administrator of student learning. Recently, she oversaw the college’s Gates Grant project to revamp developmental education courses in mathematics, English and reading. She works with Jefferson County high schools to arrange dual enrollment classes.

Wanat previously served as interim dean for the business, engineering and information technologies, humanities and social sciences. She has a bachelor of science degree in business administration from West Liberty University and a master’s degree in education from Jones International University.